Journey to Asheville

by Rama Lila

I was apprehensive about driving so many hours, especially with my 6 year old daughter Kunti, but it worked out great. The highway down south through WV, Virginia and into N.C. is scenic and sometimes as you go through the national forests– breathtaking. Kunti had her DVDs and I my japa bag (which believe it or not helps me to concentrate more on the road.

I had heard about Asheville from my Pita, Garga Rsi, about what a hip and happening town it is and I was excited to visit. It was that and more. Nestled in the valley of beautiful national forest covered mountains, 7,000 registered artists in a town of 70,000, art galleries galore, vegan/veg restaurants, posters advertising kirtan and sustainable living and, as one man commented, “On the edge of the country with all the conveniences of the city”.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s kirtan group friends and the hosts were potters by trade and make their living off it. I was impressed. Their studio is in the basement of their house and the kiln in their back yard. Their table setting was rich in their own handmade designs. So many experiences like this impressed me about Asheville.

I couldn’t believe the preaching opportunities that abound there — you don’t need a permit to sing on the streets and play instruments. People talk about yoga and spirituality without blinking an eye. Everyone my dad and his partner Kori introduced me to thought it was amazing I was from an ashram. I actually was flabbergasted that there is no established temple there…hint hint ISKCON.

I met people who make their own soap and lotions, jewelry, clothing, dishes, furniture and it reminded me of what Srila Prabhupada saw for NV. I came away from my trip there thinking– we need to talk more about cottage industries. Let’s get the dialog going with interested people. Just as we already have some devotees committed to gardening, we need other areas to be filled.

If anyone is interested in getting together on these topics feel free to contact me @ As for the Asheville preaching scene I encourage our NV BA to seriously consider it as a destination spot.

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